Original Research

Letsema: Communion ecclesiology in action

Kelebogile T. Resane
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 57, No 1 | a2989 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v57i1.2989 | © 2023 Kelebogile T. Resane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2023 | Published: 06 October 2023

About the author(s)

Kelebogile T. Resane, Department of Historical and Constructive Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


This article compares a Setswana philosophy of community self-upliftment and self-reliance, known as letsema, with communion ecclesiology. The intention is to contribute towards the decolonisation of theology project. The objectives are to enlighten theologians that African philosophies are vital in decolonising theology and that these philosophies of botho or ubuntu enhance understanding of ecclesiology from the African perspective. A literature review, starts with a philosophical definition of letsema and make a comparison of letsema and communion ecclesiology, showing how the two are complementary and can work symbiotically to decolonise theology in Africa. Letsema, like communion ecclesiology is voluntary, non-hierarchical, goal-oriented, and purposeful. Communion ecclesiology is the perichoretic mutuality of the triune God with those who are called out to be a koinonia of participants in the Kingdom of God. Acts 2:42–47 express the essence of communion ecclesiology. African communities are religious; therefore, using any epistemology to enhance religion is accepted and appreciated. Religion runs deep in the veins of Africans. Letsema is indeed a communion ecclesiology in action (Ac 2:42–47) (the togetherness [homothumadon] of the church) - the community that coherently lives together with the trinitarian God, expressing its identity through doctrine, prayer, eucharist, sharing, and embracing each other indiscriminately.

Contribution: Through the interdisciplinary approach, this article engages socio-history, philosophy, anthropology, theology, and psychology to express the importance of African philosophies in the processes of decolonising theology. The Letsema concept is communion ecclesiology in action and the two can work symbiotically to decolonise theology.


letsema; community; communion; participation; ecclesiology; theology; ecclesia.

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